CADA seeks county funds

Published 9:02 am Thursday, September 5, 2013

WINTON – First they were faced with dwindling funds due to Sequestration in their Head Start and Early Head Start program, now the Choanoke Area Development Association is seeing the end of one of its programs that assists homeowners and renters, but hope with an injection of local assistance the programs can continue for another year.

CADA Executive Director, Sallie Surface went before the Tuesday meeting of the Hertford County Board of Commissioners seeking reimbursement of $18,000 for the local match assistance funds provided to 18 new homeowners.

Those funds were part of an original allocation by the county of $25,000 in March of 2008 in which the then Board of Commissioners agreed to participate with CADA in an Assets for Independence Individual Development Account (IDA) program to run for a five-year period ending June 30, 2013.

The county agreed to provide up to a $1,000 local match for an applicant who had saved $1,000 toward the down payment on a home. The IDA program would then provide another $1,000 in federal match funds to give the prospective homeowners $3,000 toward the purchase of a house.

Five families were targeted each year with a total of 25 families to be served over the five-year program period. As of the June 30 expiration, 18 families have been served.

In demonstrating how housing programs administered by CADA have impacted the quality of life for county residents, Surface cited several statistics.

“Approximately every year CADA is serving at least a thousand families (homeowners and renters) in Hertford County, and that approximately 3 to 4 million dollars is brought into the county through what CADA is doing,” Surface said.

“They are improving the quality of life for the citizens and they are doing economic development for the county based on this,” she added.

Surface said that despite the challenges brought about because of Sequestration and how those changes impact CADA’s ability to provide services, the programs were reviewed and could be expanded another year to June of 2014.

A total of 23 families were assisted to become homeowners including the 18 that received down payment assistance through IDA over the five-year period.

“The average sale price of a home was $125,706,” Surface said.

“The average income of the new homeowner was just a little over $23,000.

“To help a family with an income as low as that to become homeowners is very critical to the economic development of our communities,” she added.

The report pointed out that taxes and fees brought into the county as well as local income from home sales were both over $221,000.

CADA has also assisted 23 Hertford County families with assistance from the NC Foreclosure Prevention Fund Mortgage Payment Program. This prevented 23 foreclosures, according to the CADA report.

In addition, the report adds there were 16 loan modifications for county families, bringing to a total of 39 families who’ve had their homes protected.

“The impact of what we’re doing in housing from the standpoint of home ownership and creating economic stability is especially important when you look at what has been happening with housing across the country,” Surface explained.

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, also impacted, has forced CADA to find ways to get landlords to reduce rent on their property or decrease the number of families served.

Currently, according to the report, 198 families are served by the Section 8 program in Hertford County; generally families with special needs or who meet certain criteria.

“This is a program that’s been around for a long time,” Surface said, “but it’s facing some real challenges.

“In CADA’s case we have not been getting this assistance from the county, and we’re asking for that,” she said.

The report concluded that in March of 2013 CADA submitted an annual request for $20,000 from Hertford County, but $2,000 is what has been budgeted.

“CADA is requesting the county review the economic impact that the programs CADA operated are making in the county and increase the allocation for 2013-14 to the original request,” Surface concluded.

County Manager Loria Williams pointed out that the allocation from HertfordCounty has been $5,000, or roughly one fourth of what CADA is requesting for the coming period.

“Some non-profits had been suspended, even suspended twice,” said Williams. “However, during that period CADA’s was not suspended.

“We have not funded it at $20,000 ever,” Williams stated.

Surface continued to point out CADA’s economic impact and how current challenges are changing the way the group operates.

“If we have to change the way we operate it’s going to make a difference in some of the areas of the county in what is received and what is going on,” Surface said.

Commission chair Curtis Freeman asked if the other three counties CADA serves had paid up yet and was told that they were being notified that the five-year period was up.

Freeman further requested that the Board table the CADA request until the Commissioners receive a copy of the grant and review it.

“Whenever we do matching for anybody we like to have a copy where we can see it,” Freeman emphasized.

Surface ended her presentation by saying that further information, including a copy of the grant, would be forthcoming. The Board ended the discussion by saying they would table the request for now, but consider it at a later date.